Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Haunted Castle / Wolf Blood |
Actors: Arnold Korff, Lulu Kyser-Korff, Lother Mehnert, George Chesebro, Marguerite Clayton
Genres: Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A man thinks he's becoming a wolf because of a wolf blood transfusion. / F. W. Murnau's classic tale of intrigue and madness. Original score by Skip Heller.
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Worth it for "Wolf Blood"
T. Casey | Boston MA USA | 10/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Wolf Blood" was certainly an eye-opener. There are echoes of the plot in Universal's 1941 "Wolfman"; Curt Siodmak must have seen this movie as a kid. I would imagine that this is the only version that will ever make it to home video, so grab it - the price is certainly a bargain. It's a well-done film.
Both films, however, are from VHS-quality video tape dubs, so they don't look all that great. On a small screen like a laptop, they're watchable. With my projector and a 6" wide screen, it's unbearable. Still, it's nice to have "Wolf Blood" in my collection.
I would imagine that "The Haunted Castle" by F.W. Murnau will be released in the future by Kino looking as good as the day it was released, along with tons of extras. In the meantime, resist the temptation to watch this print of it.
(P.S. this review should not be construed as a complaint about budget video companies. I love these kinds of discs. The price is right, and at least you can say you've seen the film.)"
Forgotten little gem
Brad Baker | Atherton, Ca United States | 09/05/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Alpha Home Entertainment has just released the double-DVD of "Haunted Castle(1921)" and "Wolf Blood(1925)". Lacking any extras(there are 3 trailers), Alpha threw in the nearly unknown silent logger-adventure film, "Wolf Blood". It's the story of Dick Bannister, boss of a logging camp in Canada. Bannister is haunted by strange dreams. In a memorable sequence, he sees transparent ghost wolves running through the forest with him. The scene is tinted blood red, the forest is green, and the night background is a rich blue. Sadly, this low-budget transfer is in glorious black-and-white. But the real meat here is "Haunted Castle". F.W. Murnau was one of the most influential German film directors of the silent era. Some of Murnau's films have been lost, but many still survive. In Sept. 1920, Murnau released "Der Januskopf/Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" starring Conrad Veidt. Bela Lugosi co-starred as the butler. This film has been lost. Murnau would become world-famous with his 1922 "Nosferatu". Just before "Nosferatu", Murnau made "Schloss Vogelod", or "The Haunted Castle". This is the first public release of "Haunted Castle" since it was made in 1921. Not a horror film, but, in fact, a rather starchy, slow-moving murder/mystery, "Haunted Castle" does provide a tasty glimpse of the dark, ethereal cinema world that Murnau would soon invade. "Haunted Castle" has a complicated plot, and the original script contains about a hundred-and-sixty-five titles to move the action(such as it is) along. Also, in "Haunted Castle", emotion was expressed through attitude and gesture, not acting. The story begins in autumn, in the castle of Vogelod. The owner, his young wife, and their hunting companions await the arrival of Baroness von Safferstadt and her husband. They arrive. Her first husband, Count Oestch, died three years before, under mysterious circumstances; still unexplained. The guests debate whether or not it was the Count's own brother, Johann Oestch, who shot him. Finally, the brother himself arrives at the castle. Uh ooh. The guests avoid him; the Baroness is horrified. She wants to leave, but decides to stay in order to meet with Father Faramund, her first husband's relative, who is coming to visit from Rome. Are you with me so far? That night, Father Faramund arrives(or is it him...) and meets with the Baroness, who wants to confess. Her confession is told in flashback: We see her first marriage four years ago, which started very happily. But her husband went away on a journey, and returned rather changed. He buried himself in ancient books; became a mystic, began neglecting his wife, and telling her that real happiness was only found in renunciation...OK.....His wife becomes frustrated, and consumed by passion. Evil creeps into her life..."Haunted Castle" is filmed rather starkly, but the flash-back sequences are different. Images are luminous and mysterious. Murnau's contrast is successful. The most impressive image is of the scene in a long, narrow, high-ceilinged room. Light pierces down from two tall windows into the blackness; two shadowy figures face each other, leaning against the walls. It is the Baron and his wife. In his review in "Film Kurier", April 8, 1921, Willy Haas says: "In a large lofty room stands a murderer who has killed for love, and his beloved; they both remain there motionless like statues. Such a thing has rarely been seen in the whole existence of the cinema...". In "Haunted Castle", only the combined talents of Murnau, Carl Mayer, Hermann Warm, and Fritz Arno Wagner could have succeeded. And indeed they did. Arno would go on to shoot film for Fritz Lang. Sadly, without restoration, the conversion of "Haunted Castle" from print to DVD has produced artifact damage and compression. Contrast is poor. Blacks wash out, and are murky at best. The transfer is presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and runs 90 minutes. Though a minor work, "Haunted Castle" is a rare, even valuable addition to the Muranu canon. F. W. Murnau did not live to see the premiere of his last film; he died at age 42 in an automobile accident north of Santa Barbara, California on March 11, 1931. At Murnau's funeral in Berlin, Fritz Lang said: "He was a tireless and thorough worker; behind his gaiety was an indefatigable energy...a pioneer who left us in the midst of his career." And finally, one of his most famous actors, Emil Jannings said: "He was the most German. Reserved, severe, severe on others, severe on himself. Inside he was like a boy, profoundly kind, and incorruptible. He was a pioneer, he fertilized everything he touched. Never envious, always modest. And always alone....""
Only 55 Minutes & Awful Picture Quality; Wait For The Kino
G. Ratcheson | Washington | 12/05/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this due to Amazon's statement that this Haunted Castle is 90 minutes long. That's incorrect, it's only 55. There are currently collector's copies in circulation with a much better picture that run 72 minutes. Kino is scheduled to release a restored 80 minute version in March, I strongly suggest waiting.
The only reason I bought this was due to Amazon's statement of the 90 minute run time; don't let it happen to you!
I consider the picture quality of Haunted Castle unwatchable, even by Alpha's low standards & Wolf Blood is only slightly better."